BC – the week of vaccinations

I was so excited to see how many of our BC faculty and staff were able to get their COVID-19 vaccinations this week. Vaccinations are the first step to getting back to seeing each other in person – and every person I see getting their shot brings a smile to my face as we find hope to end this pandemic.

I’ve especially appreciated some of the notes that have been shared.

“After nearly a year away, I almost cried when I saw Michael Korcok! I was so happy to see my hallmate in person for the first time since March 16th 2020.” – Helen Acosta

Abel Guzman shared that his vaccine was administered by a BC LVN student, Jesus:

Here are some of the other photos of Renegades getting vaccinated:

Please share your COVID-19 vaccination photos to president@bakersfieldcollege.edu so they can be added to our growing gallery.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 27, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

How BC Firefighters Land Their Dream Job

Bakersfield College, in collaboration with our City and County Fire Departments, assists students in landing their dream job in the community as firefighters. A key to reaching that goal is the right combination of education and training. Future firefighters receive both instructional and hands-on training.

This training lasts for months, and upon successful completion students are qualified to apply to work at many fire departments. Dean Lora Larkin, FIRE Faculty Charles Truvillion, Chief Mike Lencioni, and Captain Bryce Campbell met to see student progress first hand in a rare opportunity this past Saturday to see our students in a firefighting training. 

Participants included Charles Johnson (KCFD), Victor Reyes (KCFD), Austin Lackey (KCFD), Temo Rojo (KCFD), Chris Wells (KCFD), Johnathan Amaya (KCFD), Bryce Campbell (KCFD), Wyatt Paxton (BFD), and Mike Lencioni (BFD).

What many may not know is that the training through Bakersfield College continues even after a person is offered a job with the Fire Departments. The Recruit Academy is provided through Bakersfield College as well, where all previous education and training are cummulatively built upon and applied in real world scenarios. For many months recruits work long days at the training facility, and study into the night each night. Some of the topics covered are fire behavior, military discipline, auto extrication, and firefighter survival. 

Live fire training provides the students enrolled in the academy the best opportunity to experience what it truly takes to perform the tasks of a firefighter under realistic conditions. This high level of training cannot be simulated through other means. It is the mission of the teaching cadre for the Bakersfield College Firefighter 1 Academy to best prepare the cadets for their future career as firefighters providing both the academic education and the necessary experience in applying what they have been taught.

While the fire service career path can seem daunting at first, supportive staff are there for our students through the entire process. Encourage those within our community to enroll in the Bakersfield College Fire Technology program; you never know where it can take you! 

BC, KCCD Awarded Nearly $2 Million for Kern Regional Workforce Coalition

The Kern Community College District and Bakersfield College have been awarded $1,999,725.30 to convene industry, worker organizations and community around shared interests in energy, workforce, and industry needs of Kern County and the Central Valley. This initiative, known as The Kern Regional Workforce Coalition is a  High Road Training Partnership (HTRP), aimed to create a stronger, healthier, and more economically resilient community by focusing on equity, education, industry security, and job quality.

To meet these objectives, the Kern Regional Workforce Coalition will work with many local community, labor, industry stakeholders and contributing partners including the Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK), The Kern, Inyo, and Mono Counties Building Trades Council, The Kern, Inyo, and Mono Counties Central Labor Council, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, Kern Taxpayers Association, Farmworker Institute for Education and Leadership (FIELD), and others to conduct research, strengthen and expand regional workgroups, and invest in worker-centered workforce training, development, economic diversification and the right industry sectors to build the region’s foundation for high road training partnerships. 

Umoja Celebrates Black History Month with several events

The Umoja Community program and the Umoja Club held events during February for Black History Month. Highlights include the Club’s third annual conference and the Program’s presentation of East African acrobats.

The conference keynote Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka spoke on “Untangling Racial Trauma.” The DC-based psychohairapist wove hair together as an expression of African culture, with the hair as both symbol and target of marginalization.

Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka

She traced the history of hair oppression from Louisiana forcing formerly enslaved women to cover their hair with a headwrap to today’s students being bullied, not allowed to play sports, or suspended for wearing their hair in braids, locs, or afros. From the 1700s to now “there have been laws and rules how we were allowed to wear our hair,” Dr. Mbilishaka added.

But hair is also a cultural affirmation, a type of self care, and a way to protest. She explained that those escaping enslavement braided maps into their hair: “I don’t want to present a story that is victimizing. We always fought back.”

African drummer Dramane Kone and his group provided energetic drumming and dancing as part of the conference.

Another event was Tanzanian Zuzu Acrobats. Performances included balancing on stacked chairs, riding a unicycle three wheels high, folding into contorted positions, and forming a human pyramid — all to the rhythm of African music. During the post-performance question and answer, choreographer Matiga Koba explained that the moves were from celebration rituals from the Tanzanian tribes represented by the performers.

Kudos to the Umoja Club officers and Umoja Program Coordinator Dr. Paula L. Parks for putting on such celebratory, educational, and engaging Black History Month activities.

2nd Annual Jean Fuller Women in Leadership Panel

Cynthia Giumarra, Rosalina Rivera, Blanca Cavazos, Shannon Grove, and Jean Fuller at the 2019 Women in Leadership Panel.

Bakersfield College will kick off Women’s History Month with a panel, hosted by me and moderated by the fabulous Senator Emeritus, Jean Fuller. The panel will include local women who will share their influences, challenges, and successes along with words of advice for young women. The event will premiere on BC’s YouTube channel at 6 pm on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

The Jean Fuller Women in Leadership Panel features the following guests:

  • Dr. Mary Barlow, Kern County Superintendent of Schools
  • Ms. Katie Russell, Superintendent, Panama Buena Vista Union School District
  • Past Assemblywoman Nicole Parra, Manager, California Government Relations, Marathon Petroleum Corp.

The event is part of BC’s month-long celebration of Women’s History Month. Bakersfield College’s Office of Student Life in collaboration with the Student Government Association is also hosting journalist and activist Elaine Weiss as part of the college’s Distinguished Speaker series on Tuesday, March 2nd.

New Renegade Orientations for High School Seniors Begin

The Outreach & Early College team, along with colleagues from other Student Affairs departments, held their first New Renegade Orientations for matriculation high school seniors. This past week nearly 350 high school seniors attended to learn more about attending Bakersfield College after graduation. During these orientations, seniors have the opportunity to learn more about their transition from high school to college, discover resources and tools for success, and explore their individualized Comprehensive Student Education Plans. Eight more sessions are scheduled for interested seniors to attend.

Visit: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/outreach/high-school-seniors to learn more!

Tutors for Panorama/SW Campus Host Spring 2021 Virtual Conference

Last Friday, tutors from the Panorama and SW campuses held their Zoom Tutoring Conference for Spring 2021. All tutors were invited to contribute to open discussions on their tutoring experiences in general and their coping mechanisms for tutoring during COVID.

Connie Gonzalez, Director of the MESA Program, was the featured guest speaker, addressing the issue of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and its connection to learning. Her presentation culminated in an insightful questionnaire that assessed the EI of each attendee — helping us see where we might need work on our EI!

Perhaps most impressive thing about this Conference was that it was 100% tutor-run as part of a tutor training course that all tutors are required to take. Tutors expertly organized and implemented every aspect of the Conference. Their ease with technology was evident throughout, and they added the delightful touch of including 2 online games, Kahoot and Skribbl.io.

When all was said and done, each participant left the meeting with a reinforced sense that they were part of a community of peer educators with the mission of providing students the best tutoring experience possible. Their growth mindset is inspiring as they continually embrace new approaches, even during COVID. Looking forward to the next conference!

Virtual Forums: Summer & Fall 2021 Preliminary Plans

On Tuesday, we continued the President’s Virtual Seminar series. This week’s session focused on our preliminary plans for Summer & Fall 2021, as we gradually increase physical access to our campus.

Thank you to our panelists – Billie Jo Rice, VP of Instruction; Rosita Barron, director of the Child Development Center; Jeremy Staat – Welding Professor; and Anna Melby – Culinary Arts Professor; for sharing their insight as we navigate back toward reopening our campus and creating our new normal.

As always, thank you to Earl Parsons for providing programming support, and Todd Coston for providing technical support and serving as our emcee.

You can catch up on all the virtual forums on BC’s COVID-19 website.

Opening Day Spring 2021

Today, I’m sharing a few videos from the second day of programming for our Opening Day Spring 2021 celebration.

We took a look at the Project HireUp program:

We also enjoyed a performance from the Bakersfield College Choir, Chamber Singers, and Renegade Chorus:

You can see all the videos from the Spring Opening Day celebration on the Bakersfield College website.

In the News

Community Voices: Why choose a career in education? Teachers change lives

Kimberly Bligh, Education Department chair, wrote about the importance of teachers in our society, and shared how BC can prepare future – and current – teachers.

“Bakersfield College has one of the top teacher education programs in all of California’s community colleges. We have multiple pathways and programs available for people who want to pursue any type of teaching career. Teaching paths include pre-K, elementary, middle school, high school, community college and university levels. Within those levels, teachers can specialize in early childhood, nutrition, special education, STEM, career and technical fields, education technology, research, curriculum design, administration, counseling and so much more.”

Community Voices: Student government members impact so many on campus

BCSGA Vice President Emma McNellis wrote a Community Voices piece urging students to consider joining student government.

“By joining your student government, you will be given an opportunity to meet several new people, develop strong leadership skills and join a team of several dedicated student leaders. You will meet a variety of students who share the common goal of effectively representing the students to make college life better for all. Additionally, no matter the amount of leadership experience you begin with, I guarantee that student government will enhance your leadership skills, as it has honed my own soft skills for the past two years”

New cafe Nixtamal to support Children First Campaign

Culinary Arts Adjunct Faculty Marah Meek has joined the Nixtamal team, which supports the Children First Campaign in East Bakersfield. The charity is opening a new cafe, and is also selling monthly pastry boxes – which are prepared by students in the BC Culinary Arts Department.

You can find out more about this program in the story on the KGET website.

Sunrise Interview: Early College

Kylie Campbell, Outreach and Early College Director, appeared on KGET News at Sunrise to talk about BC’s partnership with the Kern High School District.

Spotted on Social Media

BC Cheer shared a Throwback Thursday picture from 2016 New Student Convocation:

Cheryl Scott shared this adorable picture of her dogs:

Matt Andrasian-Jones continued his Discern and Draw series with an Allen Wrench Monkey Tail:

Krista Moreland‘s cat took a nap on her desk:

Isabel Castaneda shared an update about the new Renegade in her family:


Jonathan Hunter Receives His Wrestling State Championship Ring

Congrats to last year’s individual wrestling (174lb) state champion and Renegade Athletics Male Athlete of the Year, Jonathan Hunter, on receiving his state champion ring this week. Jonathan dominated his opponents throughout the 2019 wrestling season and quickly worked his way to victory at the state wrestling championships. He will now have this piece of hardware to remind him of his hard work and accomplishments the rest of his life.


That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Renegades creating history every step of the way

This week, Michael O’Doherty, one of our Foundation Board members, sent me this picture:

Renegades control rebound, 1963”
Courtesy Los Angeles Public Library
Michael O’Doherty

“Live in Black and White on the wall of Vons in the Marketplace is this action shot of Renegade Basketball.”

One of the things I love best about Bakersfield College is how connected it is throughout the community. I love the interaction between the campus and Bakersfield – BC truly is a community college. That sense of community pride strengthens our students, faculty, staff and administration as we all work toward our common goal of helping our students achieve their educational goals.

And I love the notes and emails that people share with me when they see BC being represented throughout the community. Keep those notes coming.

Btw, Have you seen this picture at Vons?

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 20, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

KHSD Expanding Early College Partnership with BC

The Career Technical Education Center on Old River Road, home to several of our Early College courses at KHSD.

The Kern High School District is offering a select number of students the opportunity to earn an Associate’s degree. With BC’s Early College program expanding into the Kern High School District, students can get a 2-year head start on their baccalaureate degree, and all books and transportation will be provided to them free of charge.

Check out the news story from 23ABC:

Applications for KHSD parents to enroll their students in Early College end on March 26. For more information, visit the Early College website.

Thank you Dr. Jean Fuller and Trustee Romeo Agbalog for your leadership in the #EarlyCollege movement.

Learning Together with the Library

The BC Library continued its series of conversations around cultural competency during the All-Campus Virtual Seminar on Thursday. English professor Pam Boyles and history professor Erin Miller discussed their thoughts about the video titled “Fighting Racism Without Shaming”, featuring Moral Courage Project founder Dr. Irshad Manji.

Thank you to Mindy Wilmot for moderating the discussion, Todd Coston for serving as our emcee, and Earl Parsons for providing the programming support for the Virtual Seminar Series.

Check out the video below:

You can find videos from previous Learning Together seminars, as well as other virtual forums, on the President’s Events page. (Check the Virtual Forums tab!)

Recognizing Robert Tafoya

This week I saw a wonderful article from Jose Gaspar in the Bakersfield Californian honoring Judge Robert Tafoya, who retired February 5 after being appointed to the bench by Governor Gray Davis in 2002.

I’m not sure if you are all aware, but Judge Tafoya was the person behind creating Bakersfield College’s inmate education program. I remember when Chancellor Emeritus Sandra Serrano called me about working with Kern Valley State Prison to create an educational opportunity for inmates, with a goal of providing opportunities for these individuals while reducing recidivism rates.

After this phone call, I pinged Rich McCrow, then director of the Delano campus. Rich put his head and heart into building this program — and Bryan Hirayama was the first faculty member to teach at KVSP.

The program began at Kern Valley State Prison in Spring 2015. The pilot course, COMM B1 – Public Speaking, had 27 students enrolled.

Our first Inmate Scholars cohort of 17 students graduated in August 2019.

I am grateful for Judge Tafoya and Chancellor Serrano for seeding this work that has made such a profound change in these inmates’ lives.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

On Friday, Kern County Public Health announced that more sectors will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines beginning next week. It’s been reassuring seeing members of our Bakersfield College community being able to get their vaccines as well.

Di Hoffman, one of our nursing faculty, shared that she got her vaccine this week:

If you have photos of yourself or loved ones getting vaccinated for COVID-19, please email them to earl.parsons@bakersfieldcollege.edu or president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

I’d also like to share another video from our February 2 Virtual Forum with Dr. Michael Saag. In this clip, he talks more about the vaccine rollout process and our ability to scale up our supply and distribution:

Mars Rover Perseverance Watch Party

On Thursday, NASA successfully landed a new rover, Perseverance, on Mars. Astronomy professor Nick Strobel hosted a Zoom watch party for our Renegade community. Before the landing, he shared lots of great information about Perseverance’s mission and about Mars.

The Perseverance mission is looking for signs of possible past life on Mars, as well as collecting rock and soil samples and testing oxygen production in the atmosphere to prepare for potential future human travel to the Red Planet.

Nick also wrote about the Mars Perseverance mission in his February 21 Bakersfield Night Sky column.

Opening Day Spring 2021

This week, I’m sharing two videos from Day 2 of our Spring Opening Day celebration.

We opened the day’s production with this photo roll from Fall semester:

And please enjoy this performance of “Stomp on the Fire” from the Bakersfield College Chamber Singers:

Check out all the videos from our 3-day Opening Day production on the Spring Opening Day website.

Spotted on Social Media

BCSGA shared this picture of Maya Angelou’s visit to Bakersfield College in the 1970s:

Librarian Mindy Wilmot shared this throwback photo:

Professor Buggs’ Level 2 RN students celebrated completing their first round of clinical:

Shannon Musser tuned into BC’s Perseverance watch party with her kids:

The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce had this positive message to share:


Head Coach Spotlight – Casey Goodman, Renegade Softball

Our Renegade Coaches are the glue that keep their teams together. All of our coaches spend countless hours behind the scenes preparing their teams for competition and life. This week we’re shining the spotlight on Casey Goodman, who leads our softball team.

Coach Goodman has been at BC since 2017 and has already won two Western State Conference (WSC) Championships and been named the 2019 WSC Coach of the Year. Coach Goodman played college softball at the University of Louisiana at Monroe where as a player she earned multiple post-season awards and has since been inducted into the ULM Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.

We are proud to call Coach Goodman a Renegade and know she’s still yet to accomplish many great things in her coaching career!


That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

It’s Valentine’s Day … Love is in the air

This long weekend, I am grateful to be able to take a short break and enjoy the quiet beauty of the world around us. In our hectic lives, it’s these peaceful moments that can help renew and restore us to continue the things we must do.

And as we head into Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I wanted to share this email W. Christian Flores-Castaneda in our Culinary Science department, full of Renegade love. It is notes like this from our campus community that also help renew and restore my spirit:

Thank you for supporting the Food and Nutrition Program here at Bakersfield College.

Hey, Y’all…

I had started this email a number of times, months ago, only to delete it over and over again, because it felt like I just couldn’t get the right words to flow together… I was trying to be funny, or quirky, or all wordsmith-y to keep you upbeat and interested.

And then I got to thinking, y’all just need some Love. Like, “Hey, we didn’t forget about you all, and how supportive and invested you are, and how much we rely on your gratitude and guinea pig-ness, and gosh darnnit, WE MISS YOU!” kinda love. The kind of love I tell our new students about. The RenRoom Fam. The “every Tuesday at 6 pm at THAT table” kinda love. We’ve been missin’ all the good times, and the not-so-perfect-but-let’s-chock-it-up-to-learning-experience times…

Well, the show must go on. People gotta eat. And we gotta make sure our students know what to do when they get out there. So, we are working on training them appropriately to today’s measures, ensuring theirs and others’ safety as they navigate the industry. COVID gave us an opportunity to build humane relationships with each other as we learn new techniques and skillsets under new guidelines and prevention measures. We’ve needed to adhere to the most practical methods of teaching our culinarians without compromising anyone’s health and safety. We’re connecting with each other in ways we had not completely relied upon in prior lesson exchanges. These moments are being seized.

“Are we open for business?” We are working on that, actually. We will provide our students opportunities to engage in real-time application as far as production expectation and sanitary distribution. That’s fancy talk for “how to cook and package things nicely.” Our advanced students are poised to begin processing orders this week. Because we are working with reduced class sizes, our production team can only offer a limited number of portions, so it’s gonna be a little “First Come, First Served”-fashioned at first.

Renegade Room Take-Out events are being coordinated for both Tuesday Night Fine Dining and Wednesday Lunch services, with tailored menus and pricing. As we begin to offer more service, I’ll be updating our webpage and send out communication regarding menus and payment methods.

You can visit the Renegade Room page of the Bakersfield College website for more information here: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/renegaderoom

Glad to be back, fam. We’ll see you soon.

W. Christian Flores-Castaneda

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 13, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

BC Vaccine Clinic Updates

While preparations continue for our vaccination clinic on the Panorama Campus, more Renegades are getting access to the vaccine.

Yovani Jimenez, one of the newest Trustees to the Kern Community College District, is also a case worker for Clinica Sierra Vista, got his vaccine. Mary Jo Pasek also took her first treatment of the vaccine.

Jennifer Garrett also recently received her first dose of the vaccine:

If you have photos of yourself or loved ones getting vaccinated for COVID-19, please email them to earl.parsons@bakersfieldcollege.edu or president@bakersfieldcollege.edu

I also wanted to share another video from the February 2, 2021, Virtual Forum about the COVID-19 vaccine, with Dr. Michael Saag. You can see more videos from that session at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/covid19/resources.

In this 6:20-min video, he gives a brief description of the body’s immunization process and how the COVID-19 vaccine works. Thank you to BC Pre-Med student Ian Spark for taking part in the Q&A session:

For more information about Bakersfield College’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, visit the COVID-19 page.

Poem: “Silencing Song”

Jack Hernandez shared a poignant poem with me this week:

Silencing Song

Abusive voices lash
the air and souls
of those
they despise.
Amid the endless rancor
words like peace
hide behind doors
of despair.
Yet ready to pounce
with love
forgiveness begins
her silencing song.

She does not avert
her eyes,
her lyrics tell those
whose tongues
are whips
she will not
strike back,
will stand strong
without hate,
waiting and singing
waiting and giving.

Putnam Exam Open to BC Students

From email from Jonathan P. Brown:

The William Lowell Putnam Competition is “the leading university-level mathematics examination in the world.”  The exam is fun, challenging, and if you score anything greater than a 0 on it, then that is something remarkable to put on your resume/CV or applications.  I am happy to announce that it will be available for the first time to any BC students who do not already hold a bachelor’s degree.  The exam will be Saturday, February 20th, and we will have two study sessions before then.

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is “the leading university-level mathematics examination in the world.”  The competition consists of two 3-hour sessions.  During each session, participants work individually on six challenging mathematical problems. 

The 81st Putnam Competition will take place virtually on Feb 20, 2021

For more info: www.artofproblemsolving.com/contests/putnam
Register at https://artofproblemsolving.com/contests/putnam/student

Contact jonathan.brown@bakersfieldcollege.edu for more.

KHSD Opens Early College Pathway Applications for 2021-2022 School Year

KHSD announced this week that applications for their Early College pathways are now open for the 2021-2022 school year. In addition to the 4 pathways launched last Fall (Industrial Automation, Public Health, Psychology, and Administration of Justice), the district is also planning a new “Introduction to Health Careers” pathway with their CTEC facility that will align with our Title V objectives and expose high school students to the many Health Science pathways available here at BC. A cohort of 35 incoming 9th grade students will be selected for each of the 5 pathways, and students from other grades will be selected for courses that will get them a head start on pathways of their choice.

To learn more about these pathways, you can visit https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/earlycollege/khsd.

Tutoring Center Online and Open for BC Students

From email from Bradley Cramer:

Great news! The Bakersfield College Tutoring Center is now open and available online.

Services offered:

  • Weekly 50-minute appointments
  • 15-minute drop-in tutoring (for math and English)
  • Tutors available in many subjects

For more information and to sign up for tutoring, go to our website at: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/student/tutoring

The link to our website is also accessible by clicking the “BC Peer Tutoring” link in Canvas. Our online hours are:

  • Monday: 9 am – 7 pm
  • Tuesday: 9 am – 7 pm
  • Wednesday: 9 am – 8 pm
  • Thursday: 9 am – 7 pm

The BC Tutoring Center is a proven student success service that provides FREE online tutoring to all currently enrolled Bakersfield College Students. Our one-on-one Peer Tutors, who are trained and certified, can assist you with many Bakersfield College courses. Assistance with course content, assignments, required papers (at any stage of the writing process) and/or academic skills are available through drop-in and scheduled appointments for most BC courses. Please feel free to share this information with your students. Thank you so much.

Opening Day Spring 2021

On the first day of our Opening Day Spring 2021 production, CSEA President Tina Johnson shared an update:

We also featured a performance from the Renegade Chorus. Please enjoy “Resilience”:

For more videos from our Opening Day Spring 2021 production, visit https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/president/opening-week-spring-2021.

Community Voices

Philanthropy just may be the best tool we have for increasing social, economic mobility

Sheri Horn-Bunk, executive director of the Taft College Foundation, and Cheryl Scott, executive director of the Bakersfield College Foundation, co-wrote this piece in the Bakersfield Californian about the $100 million donation from the Jay Pritzker Foundation to fund the Finish Line Scholarships for 34 California community colleges.

“By providing students Finish Line scholarships, we’re able to remove barriers while supporting the overall community. When a student is able to feed their family, pay rent and complete their college degrees, they are putting the money back into the community. In fact, students earning a degree or certificate from a California community college nearly double their earnings within just three years!”

Get on track with Renegade Fitness

Nicky Damania wrote a piece for the Bakersfield Californian highlighting the virtual Renegade Fitness program, and shared how it has evolved over the course of the pandemic:

“Even though we are all virtually apart and not able to come physically together to workout, this avenue provides a small community for us to engage with each other. Also, as the workouts are shown on social media platforms, many community members have also started engaging with the workouts. We even have a couple of regulars who join in from the states of Indiana and Colorado.”

You can check out the Renegade Fitness program Monday through Friday from Noon to 1 p.m. Register on Zoom or tune in on Facebook LiveTwitterTwitch, or YouTube. Archived videos are available on the BCSGA YouTube channel.

Spotted on Social Media

The Padrinos de BC Instagram page shared this photo from the Latinx CCC Virtual Mixer:

Endee Grijalva had a family-style nachos night:

Shannon Musser shared this photo of her and her dog, Zoe:

Maria Wright shared this photo of her family:

And Abel Guzman shared this update about his work at BC:

Archives Throwback: Portrait of an Older Woman

In the Feb. 5, 1971 edition of the Renegade Rip, Mark W. Johnson breathes life into the casual and the mundane with his poem “Portrait of an Older Woman”. There aren’t many details available other than that, so enjoy the poem below:

Portrait of an Older Woman

she sits
in the shadow
of the window
she sits
the shadow
of the window

in a shadow-window
she sits
she sits
a wooden shadow
in the window
an etching

sunlight breaks
on bended knees
and sags upon
her feets
and slides
away across
the wooden floor
a river of bright
and dancing dust
as she sits
the shadow
of the window


Throwback to 1979 Women’s Volleyball

It’s always fun to throwback to pictures of the past. Here’s some action pics from the 1979 women’s volleyball season – almost 40 years ago! That year the team placed fourth in the conference and had four players selected to the All-Conference team – Sharlene Carroll, Jill Turner, Terri McNamara and Rhonda Harrington. Do you know any of these ladies? What a blast from the past!


That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Keeping our community healthy. We are BC!

Today, we pass a milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic. While the first US death was announced on February 29, 2020, later studies found that the first US death from COVID-19 was on February 6, 2020. Since then, over 450,000 people in the United States have died due to COVID-19.

It has been a harrowing year, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as more and more people receive the vaccine.

This week, Bakersfield College was given official approval as a site to administer to COVID-19 vaccinations. The college is engaged in discussions with Kern County Public Health to develop plans to support the vaccination effort in Kern County. To prepare for our first shipment of the vaccine, BC staff members who will be on-site to assist members of the community at the clinic got their first doses of the vaccine. I received these photos of Zav Dadabhoy, Nicky Damania, and Steve Watkin getting vaccinated.

I also wanted to share this note from Zav:

“Nurse graduated from Bakersfield College. Said it was the best thing since sliced bread. Lots of praise for the program overall, specially for Lisa Harding. I learned something new today, don’t put hand sanitizer on a glove. It destroys the protection of the glove. Thanks BC nursing!”

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, VP Student Affairs
Steve Watkin, Exec Dir of Outreach and School Relations

I am so excited that once again, BC can step up and offer support to a community that has always supported us. Here is a photo of Bill Kelly getting his vaccination. Thank you Prof. Deb Rosenthal for facilitating BC employees over 65 getting their vaccinations. I am collecting and sharing vaccination photos and videos so plz send me your photos/videos by emailing president@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Bill Kelly, Faculty Emeritus

Our fantastic nursing faculty and students, BC’s pandemic heroes, have already been hard at work giving vaccines at various sites throughout Kern County.

Art professor David Koeth also sent in a photo from his sister-in-law Sharon Nold, who received her vaccine from a BC nursing student at the Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Hospital drive-through last weekend:

And Nursing Department Chair Alisha Loken shared this post on her Facebook page about her nursing students giving out vaccines:

I’m so proud of our nursing students and faculty, who are continuing to work on the frontlines of this pandemic to keep our community healthy and safe!

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 6, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Dr. Michael Saag Breaks Down the COVID-19 Vaccine

For our first President’s Virtual Seminar of 2021, we invited special guest Dr. Michael Saag, a dean of global health at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a prominent researcher of infectious diseases, to educate the campus about vaccines. Dr. Saag answered questions from BC students Ian Spark (Pre-med) and Kassandra Sweeney (Public Health Sciences) about the human body’s immunization process, projections of how the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will expand over the next few months, and his personal experience with contracting COVID-19 in the early weeks of the virus. Dr. Charles Daramola gave a brief introduction of Dr. Saag’s accomplishments and answered questions from students and staff in online chat about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Today, I’d like to share one of Dr. Saag’s answers from the seminar. He talks about how long he thinks the vaccine rollout might take

You can find the rest of his videos, as well as other videos from our Virtual Seminar Series, on the COVID-19 Resources page.

An Appointment

I wanted a share another poem from Jack Hernandez:

An Appointment

When death left me
 in the waiting room
I ordered my usual coffee
read the morning news
as voices blathered
on the big screen
covering the wall
adjoining the locked
door I had entered
moments before.
I was unsure
when my appointment
was scheduled,
when death would diagnose
my exit,
I had heard
he could be blunt
or sadly soft.
Either way I thought
I’d look him in the eye,
smile, then say,
“I have lived well
and like the wind
I will always swirl
in memories
beyond your door.”

Zav Dadabhoy Presents at Immigration Legal Services Webinar

In addition to receiving the vaccine, Zav Dadabhoy spoke at a Chancellor’s office webinar about services for undocumented and immigrant students. Zav focused his comments around the importance of a creative supportive environment for undocumented students, integrating support for students across disciplines and service areas across the campus, and keeping the community informed about their immigration rights and opportunities to support their success.

Watch the full presentation from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for more details about the Immigration Legal Services Project. Zav’s comments start around 47 minutes into the Zoom video.

Early College Administrators Convene to Celebrate Success and Discuss Future Opportunities

As you may have seen on Twitter, I welcomed 150 administrators and counselors from our Early College partners at a virtual convening hosted by our Outreach & Early College team last Friday. I was so happy to see some of our longtime partners there like Wonderful College Prep Academy, Wasco High School, Kern High School District, Delano Joint Union High School District, and McFarland High School Early College, as well as some of our newer partners like Garces Memorial High School, Taft Union High School, and Monache High School from Porterville. It amazes me how many high schools now offer entrances to our guided pathways through Dual Enrollment on their campuses, and how we continue to push forward on an exponential trajectory to keep expanding opportunities and access for all high school students all across Kern County.

The data shared during this meeting showed that our enrollment numbers for Dual and Concurrent Enrollment continued to increase through Spring 2020, Summer 2020, and Fall 2020. As the group planned for next school year, several representatives from BC shared about pathways opportunities through CTE, Title V- Health Sciences, Kinesiology, Public Safety Training, and more. It is amazing to see the high school and BC staff working together to continue bridging the gap between high school and higher education for all students, and I am excited to see our plans for Early College implementation continue to progress within each of our partnering districts.

The meeting closed with a preview of a new online platform, DualEnroll.com, that will replace our current Dual/Concurrent Enrollment form. With the constant growth in enrollments through Dual Enrollment and Concurrent Enrollment, this new platform will help to streamline the enrollment process for our high school students, their parents, and the high school sites.

Umoja Community starts Employment Prep Academy for Students Interested in Nursing

Umoja students and Dr. Parks talking with Dr. Michael Williams, COO of St. Joseph’s Hospital (A Dignity Hospital)

Umoja Community is partnering with Nursing and Job Placement to offer students an opportunity to be part of the newly established Umoja Employment Preparation Academy. We are so grateful to Morgan Clayton, president of Tel-Tec Security, for funding this program for a pilot group of five students.

Over the spring semester, the Umoja students will work with Venessa Reyes, education advisor, on planning their schedule and preparing to apply to the nursing program; with Dr. Ken Robinson, leadership consultant, on identifying their strengths and growing as a leader; with Vikki Coffee, Job Placement, on preparing a resume and identifying their career interests; with Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja English professor, on discussing Black Man in a White Coat; and with practitioners in the medical field. Many of the speakers are associated with Dignity Hospital, where Clayton is Chairman of the Board.

Dr. Michael Williams, the first African-American COO of St. Joseph’s Hospital, spoke with students this past week. He started his career in nursing, continued his education to earn a masters and doctorate, and over a period of 14 years moved up from bedside nurse to charge nurse, chief nurse, director, then COO.

“If you really put your mind to it, you can move up. You have to take your destiny in your own hands, get out of your comfort zone, and get the necessary experiences,” explained Williams, who combines his clinical knowledge and education with experience in project management, facilities, and budgets.

“What stuck with me,” said Alexis, “was that I need to get out of my comfort zone, ask for help, and seek challenges.”

Dr. Williams acknowledged the barriers he faced in becoming the hospital’s first Black administrator and encouraged students to advocate for themselves, ask others for advice, and earn the practical experience, degrees, and overall skill set for the position they want.

Upon completing the Employment Prep Academy, students will receive a scholarship and continue the following two semesters on-site at Dignity Health. Huge thanks to Morgan Clayton, Tel-Tec; Carla Gard, Nursing; Vikki Coffee, Job Placement; Dr. Ken Robinson, Umoja Advisory Board Member; and Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja Coordinator for making this opportunity possible for outstanding Umoja students.

CCRC Hosts Seminar on Costs of Guided Pathways

On Wednesday, February 3, I was a featured panelist at a nationwide panel on the costs of guided pathways. The panel, which was hosted by the Community College Research Center (CCRC), featured “Redesigning America’s Community Colleges” author Davis Jenkins, as well as Anthony Culpepper, a Vice President of Administrative Services at Glendale College who was instrumental in BC’s early implementation of the guided pathways model during his time as our Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services. The moderator was CCRC Senior Research Associate Hana Lahr, and Vice Chancellor of Finance and Facilities Planning Lizette Navarette talked about the statewide trends in pathways funding.

The forum centered around a technical report from the CCRC that examined the average increased costs for implementation of guided pathways at community colleges. The report concludes that a majority of the costs around guided pathways comes from hiring more advisors to be embedded within each of the learning and career pathways. All of the colleges in the study, which includes BC, are moving forward with guided pathways during the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased retention and graduation rates and making the colleges more efficient as a business.

You can check out the video below:

Opening Day Spring 2021

Today I’d like to share two more videos from our Opening Day Spring 2021 Programming, which took place January 12-14.

BCSGA President Gian Gayatao provided the traditional BCSGA President’s welcome:

And we took a look back at previous opening days:

You can find all the videos from our Spring 2021 Opening Day programming on the BC website.

In The News

Bakersfield Californian Tours Measure J Projects

Mike Giacomini gives Emma Gallegos and Alex Horvath of the Bakersfield Californian a tour of the Measure J construction projects.

The Bakersfield Californian visited the Panorama Campus on Monday to report on the latest developments with Measure J. Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Mike Giacomini led reporter Emma Gallegos and photographer Alex Horvath on a tour of the renovations in the Campus Center, the new Science and Engineering building and Memorial Stadium while answering questions about construction timelines, infrastructure, swing space and more.

Check out the photo gallery on the Bakersfield Californian website.

For more information about Measure J, visit the A Better BC website

Art Professor gets recognition

Joseph Tipay, Studio Art professor, was honored in Bakersfield Life Magazine. Readers were asked to nominate area educators who have gone above and beyond for their students during the pandemic.

Community Voices: Dr. Brijesh Bhambi

Dr. Brijesh Bhambi

Dr. Brijesh Bhambi penned this piece in the Bakersfield Californian, The Solution is Inside the Box.

Dr. Bhambi discusses the need to accelerate vaccination to make sure we are safe from COVID-19. He says that the easiest and fastest way to ensure the most people are vaccinated is to allow doctors and pharmacies to give the vaccine.

“Release the vaccine to doctors and pharmacies. Relationships there are underpinned by trust and familiarity. Patient records already exist. Compliance to guidelines should be encouraged, but thrust of vaccination has to be vaccination. We should resist the temptation to overthink. Sometimes the solution is inside the box.”

Dr. Bhambi and I have been having an online conversation about COVID-19, vaccinations, and other topics at our shared blog, https://bhambiandchristian.com/.

Spotted on Social Media

EMT Program Director Brett Burton was a guest on KNZR Talk Radio, on The Law with Tony Lee:

Check out the video:

BCSGA shared this inspiring quote:

The BC Library Instagram account shared this photo of Faith Bradham and Laura Luiz (thank you to Mindy Wilmot!):

Mary Jo Pasek shared this photo in support of Go Red Day for heart disease awareness:

Isabel Castenada shared this picture of a Bridge to BC planning session with Kimberly Bligh and Ashlea Ward:


Celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day

This last Wednesday, February 3rd was National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the day which is meant to “Inspire girls and women to play and be active, to realize their full potential” – as stated on the Women’s Sports Foundation website. The day was meant to highlight the stories and paths of student athletes, coaches, administrators and lawmakers to provide equitable access to sports for all girls and women. These pictures are just a small sample of the many Renegade women we celebrate who have come through our campus to be an example and pave the way for future women’s opportunities in sports. We are proud of these women and celebrate their achievements both on the field and in life.


That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Kern County — Thank you for supporting BC

As we wrap up the first month of 2021 – a month that has brought upheaval and many changes – I was grateful this week to be able to get back to campus briefly to see the progress on the construction of our new buildings. I was joined by Billie Jo Rice, and it was wonderful to spend some time together and appreciate the future of Bakersfield College as we build #ABetterBC.

Sonya Christian, Billie Jo Rice

Kern County, thank you for voting Yes on J

In addition to the in-person campus tour, I also had a great virtual budget meeting with Steven Holmes, Mike Giacomini, and Teresa McAllister.

If we have learned nothing else from the past year, it’s to truly enjoy and embrace those moments of normalcy and camaraderie. I am so excited about what the future holds and how we can best serve our students.

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, January 30, 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Central Valley Takes Center Stage

While I was watching “Celebrating America,” the concert honoring President Joe Biden’s inauguration, I noticed that one of the speakers chosen to read from previous inaugural addresses was Dolores Huerta.

It was a great moment to see one of our local legends featured on a national level.

And did you notice that behind the president’s desk, he has a bust of Cesar Chavez?

NPR interviewed Dolores Huerta about the significance of featuring Cesar Chavez so prominently:

It’s really a very strong message that the strongest person in the whole world, the president of the United States of America, would have a bust of Cesar Chavez, a very simple, humble farmworker, a leader, a person who stood up for gun violence, who dedicated his life to make life better for the poorest of the poor – to me, that was a very strong message.”

You can listen to the interview on NPR’s website.

Renegades Receive the Vaccine

As COVID-19 vaccinations continue throughout California, some of our Renegades have had the chance to receive their first immunizations.

I was pleased to see Trustee Nan-Gomez Heitzeberg and track and field coach Pam Kelly get their COVID-19 vaccines from Kern County health care workers. Nan got her vaccine at the Bakersfield Heart Hospital from a BC student – Ariana Nahjmabadi. There were a lot of nursing students there in their Renegade Red tops, working very hard and doing an exceptional job. #WeAreBC

On Friday, Deborah Rosenthal set up a vaccination clinic aimed at those in our BC community who are over 65. Bill Kelly shared with me that he was getting his vaccine Friday morning.  

If you’re a BC faculty or staff member who has pictures receiving the vaccine, please send them to president@bakersfieldcollege.edu or earl.parsons@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

Jack Hernandez Poem: Relevance

Jack Hernandez shared this poem with me:

When past a certain age
the question of whether
we matter descends
like a morning fog,
whether we are needed
or just an afterthought  
like those decades old
clothes hidden in a closet,
dishes given as gifts
stacked out of sight.
Once others welcomed
our routines
sought our thoughts
on practical truth,
but now we are seen
as a classic car
stored in a garage
annexed to the main house,
a book of wisdom
out of print.
Yet though alone
we do not moan,
use unruffled time
to find ourselves,
sing our stories
to the moon.

Distinguished Speaker Gordon Bellamy

On Tuesday, February 2, our first Distinguished Speaker is a Visiting Scholar of USC Games and head of an incubator program to develop designers and programmers for video games and other interactive media. Gordon Bellamy has an extensive background in the video game industry as a designer for the Madden NFL football franchise and product management roles at Tencent, a Chinese entertainment company that owns the studio behind League of Legends.

Gordon Bellamy will be giving two presentations at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Visit the event listing on the BC calendar for more information, and visit the Distinguished Speaker Series website for a full listing of the speakers for this semester.

Undocumented Student Workshops in February

The AB 540/Undocumented Students Program has partnered with the United Farm Workers Foundation (UFW) to bring a series of workshops to Bakersfield College. These workshops are open to BC students, staff/faculty, and community members.

To Register for AB 540/Undocumented Students Program Workshops, visit tinyurl.com/Y53QRDQX.

Suicide Prevention: Know the Signs

From an email from College Safety:

Care for mental health is an important part of college life. Please take a moment to review our Know The Signs presentation on suicide prevention.

Bakersfield College staff, faculty, students, and community members are influential. When someone is in distress, we have an opportunity to provide care and support. Pain isn’t always obvious, but most suicidal people show some signs that they are thinking about suicide. Remember our motto: If you see something, say something, so we can do something.

If you think someone is in distress, visit our Help Someone In Distress website for some tips on how to provide help to someone quickly.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please reach out to us at collegesafety@bakersfieldcollege.edu or (661) 395-4554.

Measure J: Photos From the Campus Center

Progress on our Measure J construction projects continues while we all work to build A Better BC for our students and community. Earl Parsons snapped this shot of the BC logo on the new Campus Center, slated for completion in April 2021. 

The structure of the new Science and Engineering building gets stronger every day and is on pace for completion in November 2021. From the second floor of the Math and Science building, you can see it towering over the existing Science and Engineering building.

We are also entering the mobilization phase on construction of the new gym and fieldhouse, which is now slated for a March 2023 completion due to the delay in DSA approval. Finally, we’re engaged in discussions on the design of the new Agriculture building, which is projected for an April 2024 completion.

For more information about Measure J projects, visit the A Better BC website.

Emails from BC: The Legacy of JB Teasley

I was inspired earlier this week by an email from the fabulous Jerry Ludeke currently overseeing the BC Archives looking back on the life of JB Teasley, a retired BC faculty member and member of the Delano College Center Foundation.

Here is the email below:

“When a person dies at age 94 and has been retired for around thirty years from Bakersfield College, it is not surprising that there are few who remember him in his vital, teaching days.  That does not diminish the person’s importance in the history of the BC family, and it is our honor to recognize their memory.

Fortunately, Phil Feldman recognized the notice of JB TEASLEY’s death.  Phil himself is now retired from the faculty at BC but remembers JB as “a teacher and very active Delano College Center Foundation member when I ran that Center going on forty years ago.”

 The obituary tells us that Teasley, originally from Mississippi,  taught at Buttonwillow Elementary and Wasco Junior High, becoming a teacher and counselor at Delano High School, and remaining in Delano for the rest of his life.  He became connected with BC’s Delano College Center and, as Phil mentioned, was active in the Delano College Foundation.  However, he also spent many years as a teacher, counselor, and administrator at the Delano College Center. 

One interesting tidbit in the obituary caught my eye.  It stated that JB was born in May, 1926.  It also mentioned that he was Honorably Discharged with the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class after serving in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1947.  Think about those dates.  If he was born in 1926 and entered the Navy in 1942, he must have been one of those brave young men who, at only age 16, possibly with his parents’ reluctant permission, enlisted in the months after Pearl Harbor, served for five years, and survived.  He was remembered with Military Honors on January 22 at the Bakersfield National Cemetery.

We are proud of his service to our country and to Bakersfield College.

Thank you Mindy Wilmot for finding the photo for me.

In The News

Academic Technology featured in Education Technology Insights

Bill Moseley and Alex Rockey had their article published in Education Technology Insights. The article, Reimagining Access: Leveraging Mobile Devices to Transform Education, looks at how we as educators must utilize the technology many students already have – phones and mobile devices – as we try to engage with them, especially during the pandemic. The article highlights BC’s “Person Up” program, which sees a faculty member and instructional designer work together to best address the needs of the students and reimagine how we teach online.

You should also check out the Academic Technology blog,

Community Voices: Vayron Martinez

Head BC Men’s Soccer Coach Vayron Martinez published a Community Voices piece in the Bakersfield Californian titled, “Putting Bakersfield on the map through soccer.”

“One of our core program values in our team is “community.” Our young men give back to the community with various community service events throughout the year. We want to showcase the hard work Bakersfield has when we step foot onto the field and play anyone in the state. We don’t shy away from playing the best teams even if the outcome is not the desired one.”

Fun Photos

Jennifer Serratt enjoying her time in the snow:

Todd Hansen shared these pics of the digital billboard on Oak Street/California Ave, showcasing our BC Partners:

Spotted on Social Media

Kylie Campbell‘s tweet of BC’s Early College team met with 150 high school administrators on Friday morning:

Renegade Athletics shared this throwback photo of the Renegade tradition of firing the cannon at home football games:

Nick Strobel made a delicious looking pecan pie — unfortunately there were no pies left outside my front door.

BCSGA shared this inspiring quote:

Todd Coston shared this great view from a hike he took with his daughter, Ashli:


Ulloa Headed to Cal State Bakersfield

This last baseball season was cut short due to the pandemic, but even before that happened Renegade pitcher Gabe Ulloa’s season was cut short due to an injury to his throwing arm. Gabe has been working through rehab to get back to full strength and announced this week that he is headed to play baseball across town at Cal State Bakersfield. Ulloa will join fellow former Renegade pitcher Benji Caggienelli, who transferred to CSUB back in October. We are proud of Gabe and will be cheering on both the former ‘Gades turned ‘Runners!

Fun Photos

Enjoy these fun photos of some our Renegade Athletes who were ‘shrunk’ into bobbleheads!


That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever